A hint of jealously here and there in a relationship might be no big deal, but what happens when jealously starts to completely take over? If you’re someone who tends to be ultra-jealous, you know what I mean here. I’ve rounded up some tips for being less jealous in your relationship in case you’re one of the readers out there who can’t seem to get past the emotion. If it’s eating you up inside, let’s talk about some ways to stop it.
Jealousy is normal in certain cases, but it’s when jealously causes us to begin acting out or wallowing that it can become problematic, according to Christina Hibbert, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Flagstaff, Ariz., who spoke to Psych Central on the topic. The outlet also spoke to Kathy Morelli, LPC, a psychotherapist with a marriage and family counseling practice in Wayne, N.J., who noted jealousy is also problematic when you notice that it’s beginning to creep into all aspects of your life. The major problem is that many times people don’t know how to successfully manage the emotion — so if it starts getting out of control — it can feel unbearable. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways around the emotion, and it starts with being honest with yourself about why you’re feeling this way, and remembering to keep communication open and honest with your partner. Instead of continuing to wallow (if that’s where you currently are in your jealousy phase), here are 11 tips for being less jealous in your relationship.
1. Consider Your Own Insecurities, And Try To Banish Them
Many times beneath the feelings of jealously in a relationship are our own insecurities — and this could either be personal insecurities you have regarding yourself, or perhaps insecurities you feel when comparing yourself to others. In an advice column for The Telegraph, relationship expert Sarah Abell encouraged putting a halt on “indulging your insecurities.” So, if there’s a specific person in your SO’s life that you’re always feeling jealous of, stop stalking her Instagram page at every free moment and comparing yourself to this person. The ongoing comparisons are not only unnecessary; they might also end up eating you alive.
2. Consider Where Your Trust Issues Are Stemming From
Beyond those insecurities we just discussed, there may possibly be other issues you're battling internally that could be leading you to feel and act in a jealous manner. I spoke via email to Mara Opperman, relationship etiquette expert, co-founder of I Do Now I Don’t regarding this notion. "I think it's imperative to figure out the underlying reasons for your jealousy and what's causing it," Opperman says. "Sometimes we are affected by childhood experiences or past intimate relationships. For example, if you were betrayed in a previous relationship you may now think that your current relationship will be a replay of this. Knowing where your trust issues derive from can help you grow."
3. Give Him Or Her Their Freedom
According to love coach Kavita J. Patel, the basis of a strong relationship is giving each other the freedoms you need and deserve. Patel penned a Huffington Post article on conquering jealously, and suggested against having “rules” for your SO that dictate their freedom — and thereby — dictate your own freedom as well. Having too many restrictions could ultimately be pushing you apart and breeding more jealously. Patel wrote, “That is not the kind of relationship that allows you to feel expansive and connected.”
4. Use A Rubber Band Technic
This is a very tactical way of subsiding jealousy, and according to the relationship experts at YourTango.com, it can actually be very effective. Put a rubber band around your wrist, and each time you start feeling yourself slip into jealously, snap the rubber band. It can literally help to “snap” you out of the feeling before it completely takes over.
5. Be Open & Honest With Your SO About Your Feelings
If you’ve been overcome with jealousy lately, it might be time to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about how you’re feeling and why you might be feeling this way. According to the U.K.’s National Health Service blog, remember to express your feeling without placing blame on them, and pointing out specifically what it is that is making you feel jealous. The blog recommended remaining calm throughout the conversation — this should be more of an expressive talk than a full-blown argument.
Opperman agrees, noting, "When you start noticing feelings of jealousy, talk it over with your partner before your negative thoughts take over. Being clear about your feelings can help your partner to understand what’s going on with you and why you feel this way. Hopefully, your partner will help reduce any feelings of jealousy or dissolve it all together."
6. Talk It Out With A Friend
Our close friends are there for a reason — to be there for us when we really need it. Use these friendships to your advantage here, and talk out your jealously issues with someone who can provide an outside perspective to what’s happening, according to Psych Central. The outlet reiterated, though, the importance of making sure you’ve also discussed the issues with your partner, too.
7. Take Action If Something Is Truly Happening
In the worst case scenario, your SO is actually going behind your back and cheating. If there is true evidence that your jealously is happening for a valid reason, it’s important to take action. Oprah recommended that if your partner is in fact cheating, you need to focus on what you should do about the relationship in terms of working past it vs. breaking up, rather than focusing on nixing your jealously.
8. Consider The Ways Jealous Is Negatively Affecting You
Is jealously driving you to become a really negative person? Are you so envious that you suddenly find yourself despising all other women around you? Are you bitter all the time? EverydayHealth said to think through how the jealousy is negatively affecting you as an individual. By fully coming to terms with how the jealously is changing you/making you behave and feel, you might be more apt to want to tone down the jealous and try to let it go.
9. Write It Out
Another good way to help move past the jealously you’re experiencing is by keeping a journal. YourTango.com noted a journal could be a great place to keep tabs of your insecurities and frustrations related to jealousy, as it’s ideal for venting. The outlet noted you might feel better instantly simply by getting the thoughts out of your mind and down on paper. It’ll also give you an opportunity to get perspective when you go back and read what you’ve written.
10. Focus On The Good Vs. The Bad
I spoke to licensed clinical psychologist Kim Chronister, PsyD via email to get some insight into jealousy in relationships, and Chronister suggests those trying to overcome the emotion begin to shift their focus. "The most freeing thing one can do in a relationship is let go of worries about what all could possibly go wrong and focus on what is going right," Chronister says. For instance, Chronister suggests placing your focus on the things your partner does that you're grateful for, and reminding yourself daily that you are more than enough for your partner.
11. Stop Holding Onto Jealously
At the end of the day, unless you’re certain your partner is cheating, your best bet is to try to let go of the jealously that’s weighing you down. Hibbert recommended stopping and telling yourself that this is not a feeling you need in your life, and that you’re ready to say goodbye to it. Hibbert suggested to Psych Central, “…breathe deeply, and imagine it flowing through you like the wind. Repeat as often as it takes to truly let it go.”
If you're having trouble imagining the feeling away, you can also try letting go of jealousy by keeping yourself busy. Chronister suggests practicing self-care techniques, like exercise and outings with friends to boost self-esteem. "The better you feel about yourself the more you can let go about what others do when you are not looking," Chronister says.
Instead of letting yourself wallow in jealousy, you can opt to take strides to feel less of the dreaded emotion in your relationship. Next time you feel jealously creeping up, try some of these tactics and you might find that managing the feelings becomes a lot easier.
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